Who would like to share a way you have shown concern to someone this week who was not a family member or friend? You will not be bragging, we’ve asked a question and you can honestly answer by sharing a way you’ve helped someone!
This is our last study in Paul’s letter to the Galatian churches. The bulk of this letter addresses the issue of the Judaizers false gospel of grace plus works of the Law. Of course, Paul proclaimed the truth that salvation comes only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice on the cross.
In this closing passage today we’ll discover, even though we don’t know the outcome when we choose to take action, we are called as believers to be just as concerned with our brothers and sisters in Christ as we are about ourselves!
When you need help, where do you look first? (Most likely to family, then close friends then to Christian brothers!)
Paul reminded his readers that being followers of Christ means loving your neighbor as yourself. This includes helping others overcome sin, providing financial help, and not turning away from those who are struggling under a burden. Ultimately, loving others means we must share the truth of the cross with them!
Guards! Read Galatians 6:1-5
1. What actions are believers to take in this passage?
2. How are the characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit to be applied in this passage? (Almost everyone comes into play here.)
3. How was Paul treating the person mentioned in verse 1 differently from people who live according to the flesh? (This is a person who slips up, but does not have a lifestyle of sin.)
4. Those who are walking in the power of the Holy Spirit have a responsibility to restore those who are caught in sin! How strongly do you agree with this statement on a scale of 1-5?
5. How can spiritually minded Christians restore those who have succumbed to sin?
6. Did anyone share anything in the group today that impacted how you would respond to that question now?
The Holy Spirit cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church.
7. How would you describe the difference between being used by the Holy Spirit and trying to act as the Holy Spirit for someone?
8. Paul addressed the two mistakes that those who seek to restore others can experience if they are not guarded: conceit and boastfulness. How can a believer help others who are caught in sin without looking down upon them? (We should view them as a dearly beloved brother or sister and respond as we would want someone to help us be restored if we slip up.)
9. Look at verse 1 and 5. Paul encouraged the Galatians to carry their own weight as much as possible, but when that weight became too heavy, he admonished brothers and sisters to help carry their weight. How do we find a balance between the two?
We must remember that it is only by the grace of God that we are not in that same situation ourselves!
The work of helping other Christians is not an easy process. It can be taxing with not many visible results. Paul continued by encouraging the church in its work and responsibility.
Stewards! Read Galatians 6:6-10
1. How are those who walk in the Spirit to support their church leaders?
One of the ways God provides help during restoration is through the teaching of the Word of God by His called pastoral leaders. Paul reminded the church of the purpose of their work in bringing about a harvest for God. Those who help Christian brothers and sisters will reap a harvest from God, but those who refuse to help will have nothing to reap when the harvest comes. The final way that God provides help to the church is through the encouragement we receive by the Spirit and one another!
2. Without mentioning a name, think about a person who actively restores and pastors people in the congregation. What characteristics or actions do you see this person doing on a regular basis that gives evidence of a concern for other believers?
3. How can a local congregation fulfill the directive given by Paul in verse 6? (Take care of the church pastors’ financial needs.)
4. What good things and opportunities have you been given stewardship over that you can share with others? (We are all in different situations and have different blessings and struggles. Just as we must each carry our own loads, we must also be generous with the blessings the Lord has given us. We are reminded in Luke 21:1-4 that our generosity is not a question of who gives the most money, the most time, or who does the most good deeds. We must give from generous and willing hearts.)
5. How is tithing to support the work of our church different than paying a membership fee? (Rather than just giving money to consume something, we are called to “share” our good things with those leaders who share their instructions with us.)
6. How do verses 8-9 encourage you?
7. What specific situations in your life do these verses speak to right now?
We may see people who appear to be flourishing even though they are not following God. It can feel like their lives are mocking God. We should not be discouraged by this. God is aware of exactly what is going on. Reaping does not necessarily happen immediately after sowing.
At the same time, our good works may not always show immediate results. God reminds us that all the good we do to glorify Him will result in a good harvest.
What we do for God will not go unnoticed by Him!
8. What other factors might discourage a person from continuing to sow in God’s kingdom?
9. What factors might serve as motivators for continuing to sow?
10. How can a believer keep from losing heart in doing good?
Paul finished the letter by encouraging the Galatians to remain focused on Christ!
Proclaims! Read Galatians 6:14-15
1. What do the things we boast about reveal about our priorities? (We boast about those things we think make us worthy, whether it be worthy of acceptance by our peers or by God.)
2. Why shouldn’t we boast in anything except the cross? (In the gospel we understand that nothing we have done make us worthy. It is only Jesus’ work on the cross that has made a real difference in who we are or what we can accomplish!)
3. How might a person boast in the cross? (I am a new creation because of what Christ did on the cross!)
We do not need to be intimidated by those who may appear to be more religious than us. Nor should we consider ourselves superior to those who are struggling. What God is doing through us as His new creation is all that matters!
Paul delivered his final words to the root of problems in the church, stressing that neither circumcision nor keeping the law made a person right with God. What made people right with God was becoming a new creation—born again!
Summarize and Challenge!
Ponder silently these questions as we close:
1. Examine your life, paying particular attention to the seed you are sowing in your life. Based on what you are sowing, what should be expected in your life in the next five years?
2. What changes do you need to make in light of your study of Galatians?
Close in prayer, that all group members would be good stewards of their God-given opportunities, using them to point others to Jesus!